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Balancing research and practice in an international NGO

REL Practice Paper 1 Ten Years of Change is a collaborative, long-term practitioner research initiative designed to take place in three countries – Colombia, Kenya and the UK. It is implemented by the Research, Evidence and Learning team at Christian Aid. The research began with the overarching question how are community members and supporters being influenced by, and influencing, processes of social change? Each country team adapted the question to make it relevant to their socio-political context, and designed research at several different levels, from local to national. This paper tells the story of the first three years of Ten Years of Change. It narrates our ideas and ambitions and how we clarified them; how we identified where, by whom and how the study would be implemented; and how we worked with colleagues in other countries to begin to translate our idea into practice. It then discusses the forces that shaped the parallel but distinct evolution of each of the three streams of the study, before reflecting on the challenges of trade-offs and power. It concludes by returning to some of our assumptions about practitioner research, reflecting on how they played out in practice, finally turning to considerations for the next stage of the study.  

DEC Collective Learning Initiative

Nepal was shocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25th of April 2015 and then after seventeen days another 7.3 magnitude rocked the country, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and reinforcing an already chaotic situation. This resulted in the death of approximately 9,000 individuals, impacting 8.1 million people by causing widespread displacement and destruction of homes, infrastructure and services. Numerous actors were involved in the response and recovery from local communities, national NGOs, the Nepal Army and Police, Government of Nepal, Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, foreign militaries, and international NGOs. To meet the devastation of the two earthquakes, there was a massive response; however, there were also challenges to reach the most vulnerable and those most in need.

LPRR final evaluation report

The Linking Preparedness, Response and Resilience (LPRR) project, which is part of the DFID funded Disasters Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP), was carried out from 2015 to the end of March 2018. The project was delivered by a consortium led by Christian Aid, which included Action Aid, Concern, Help Age, King’s College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Safer World, and World Vision. The LPRR project brings together the expertise of response and resilience professionals (and frameworks) in order to support communities affected by emergencies and at the risk of violence. The consortium was present through a research component in eight countries, namely Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Colombia, Indonesia, with pilot projects in Kenya, Pakistan and Myanmar. The project was delivered through three distinct strands: conflict prevention, humanitarian response, and learning.

Rohingya Crisis response update, April 2018

Christian Aid and its partners have been supporting communities displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, and Rohingya refugees who have crossed the border into Bangladesh. This comprehensive update, from our dedicated team on the ground, provides the very latest information on our response so far, the challenges we have faced and our plans for the way forward, as well as stories of survival from refugees.

Land Matters: Dispossession and Resistance

This report seeks to contribute to greater understanding of how people respond to and resist land dispossession.

Large-Scale Land Acquisitions

A report examining the dramatic increase in demand for large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries from investors.

Sierra Leone: women and politics - qualitative participatory research

A participatory governance assessment in Sierra Leone, focused on Christian Aid’s partner SEND and its women in governance project in Kailahun district.

Christian Aid Nigeria Humanitarian Action: making a difference in 45 days

A report on Christian Aid's humanitarian intervention in North Central Nigeria to improve the living conditions of internally displaced people.

LPRR: action learning research

In order for productive learning to occur within the context of this project, monitoring practices must be robust and go beyond collecting data against indicators. This is especially important within a resilience context, as the pre-emptive baseline measurement that is usually used for measuring progress/success is not desirable here. Instead, an ‘outcome harvesting’ approach is more practical, as it does not measure progress towards predetermined outcomes or objectives, but rather collects evidence of what has been achieved, and works backward to determine whether and how the project or intervention contributed to the change. Within the LPRR project there is a need for rigorous evaluation, which balances accountability and learning. Given the ever-evolving evidence base of ‘what works under what conditions’ coupled with the need to demonstrate quality, impactful programming in both upwards and downwards accountability, these types of robust evaluations are essential. In order to ensure learning and accountability are achieved through evaluations, they must be well-planned and budgeted for. This is where the role of the learning strand comes in; by recognising that learning is essential at the outset, it enables it to be included within the design of the project.

Who is benefitting? Sierra Leone - July 2013

This report examines the impact that large land leases held by three investors has had on local communities.

Building the future of humanitarian aid

Many more people will survive and recover from emergencies if international aid agencies boost local organisations’ ability to respond.